Last Friday, the Russian State Duma approved the controversial bill labeling non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive funding from abroad as “foreign agents.” Next in line can be media.
United Russia deputies Vladimir Bumatov and Ilya Kostunov want to emend the law on mass media when the Duma meets again for the autumn session.
“I think the story of foreign agents is not yet complete. Many media publications receive financial assistance from abroad and are mouthpiece of a foreign state,” says Ilya Kostunov interviewed by Izvestia on Monday.
He says the media call themselves the fourth estate so we have the right to know who finances them and what their sovereignty is.
“We know that there are various news sites, newspapers and magazines where the financing is not transparent,” United Russia deputy Vladimir Bumatov says to Izvestia.
How the emended law would define foreign funding is not yet clear.
“If they get 10 percent of their budget (from abroad) it is not necessary to brand them foreign agent. But, if the funding exceeds 50 percent, it means that foreign sponsors actually have control of the editorial policy,” says Burmatov.